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House prices in Manchester have surged by 21 per cent in a year, the fastest rate anywhere in the country, pushing the average price of a house in the city up to £209,000, Nationwide has reported.
The rise has raised fears of a house price bubble caused the BBC's move north, as people pour in from outside the city and artificially inflate property prices.
Ms Chris Bagley, development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses' Manchester and North Cheshire branch, said: 'The BBC must have had an effect on house prices in Manchester. It’s not just what the BBC brings – it’s what it brings with it. Things are looking better and people are encouraged by the growth of major organisations nearby.'
She added: 'I think any kind of conscious move by an organisation that is seen as prominent, important and a market leader is going to encourage people to move there. Ms Bagley went on to say: 'Since the BBC moved north, people suddenly think Manchester is the place to be. And they've brought a lot of people with them.'
A source at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors suggested the property price rise in Manchester could also be linked to the HS2 project - the planned high speed rail link that aims to cut the journey time between Manchester and London to just over an hour.
He claimed prices may have been driven up as investors inquire about buying second homes in the city ahead of an expected property price hike if the project gets the green light.
Although average nationwide property prices remain around five per cent below all-time highs recorded in late 2007, the increase is the biggest leap since June 2010, and further evidence of an increasingly broad UK property market.
But it was Manchester that emerged as the best-performing area in 2013, with an overall uplift of 1.9 per cent in the North as a whole.
Speaking of the BBC's effect on the mood of the area, Ms Bagley said: 'With the BBC on the doorstep there is also encouragement to film here, which brings people in. We’ve had some big filming projects here lately.'
'In many ways it’s down the BBC boost that the FSB will be holding its annual conference in Manchester this year. That and the Commonwealth Games.'
A BBC spokesperson said: 'The rationale for the move to Salford was to deliver long term and sustainable economic, creative and audience-focused benefits.'
They added: 'We have just celebrated two years of award-winning TV, radio and online content and the whole region is sharing in the momentum of Media City with spend by the Public Service Broadcast channels in the region up from 15.9 per cent to 20 per cent.'
The BBC announced in 2004 that it planned to move several departments north in order to cut costs and increase regional diversity.
However, it has been widely criticised for the £1billion cost of the move, as well as the lavish relocation deals offered to senior staff.
The relocation to MediaCity in Salford was completed in June 2012. There are approximately 2,500 BBC staff currently employed at the 200 acre site, which sits on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. Elsewhere, the Nationwide figures show that house prices in London are 14 per cent above their annual peak, with a typical home in the English capital now valued at £345,186.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said the upturn in prices has become 'increasingly broad-based over the course of 2013'.
He said: 'For the second successive quarter, all 13 UK regions saw positive annual house price growth in quarter four.
'Part of the reason for the acceleration in house price growth is that the supply side of the market has not kept pace with the upturn in demand, even though buyer numbers remain subdued by historic standards.
'For example, in quarter three 2013 the number of housing transactions in England was around 25 per cent below pre-crisis levels, while the number of new homes built was around 45 per cent lower.'
Mr Gardner said that current ultra-low interest rates are currently helping to keep home loans relatively affordable, with the typical mortgage payment for a first-time buyer equating to around 29 per cent of their take-home pay.
But he added: 'However, the risk is that if demand continues to run ahead of supply in the quarters ahead, affordability may become stretched.
'House price growth has been outstripping average earnings growth since the start of the year.'
Article from Daily Mail